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SBD Global/September 30, 2013/International Football

Brazilian Football Ticket Price Hikes Criticized For Appealing To White Middle Class

Against "a backdrop of nationwide demonstrations over the rising cost of living, corruption and expenditure on next year's World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics," marketing agency Pluri Consultants reported that "tickets in Brazil are the most expensive of the world's major leagues, when local wage levels are taken into account," according to James Young of the London INDEPENDENT. Since the country's new World Cup stadiums "have opened, the already steep prices have leapt into the stratosphere." While higher tariffs "are to be expected in plush new venues, the cheapest full-price ticket" for the recent Vasco da Gama vs. Corinthians mid-table fixture in Brasilia's Mane Garrincha stadium "was an eye-watering" 160 reais ($71.30) -- only 10 reais ($5) less than it will cost to watch a World Cup quarterfinal next year. Given that the average Brazilian worker earns approximately a fifth of what his U.K. counterpart might make, such a price "is roughly equivalent to an English fan paying" more than £200 ($323) for the cheapest ticket for a run-of-the-mill Premier League game. Nor "are expensive prices the result of demand." The average attendance at a Brasileiro game last year "was a paltry 13,000" -- comparable to Australia's A-League. While the image most foreign fans have of football in Brazil "is of heaving crowds and cacophonies of noise and colour, the reality is swathes of empty seats and a small, hardy band of fans." With "the arrival of new stadiums and the accompanying astronomical prices, poorer fans are being pushed out, their places taken by wealthier, iPad brandishing supporters." Ministry of Sport football secretary Antonio Nascimento Filho said, "If I took my family to the Maracana I'd have to spend 400 reais ($178). The less well-off are being excluded. It's ridiculous that a sport of the people, built by the people, is shutting out poorer Brazilians" (INDEPENDENT, 9/29).
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